As we commemorate and reflect on the launch of our Strategic Plan for Antiracism (SPAR) in July 2021, we recognize the significant accomplishments our community members have led, as well as the work that still needs to be done.

This past year, we have seen incredible engagement from faculty and staff and had difficult, mind-opening conversations that are shifting our school culture in small but tangible ways. As you read through some of the highlights on this page, we invite you to reflect on changes in your own unit and in your personal understanding of racism and oppression. SPAR is a guide toward a better School of Public Health (SPH), and its success requires consistent learning, listening, and commitment from everyone in our community. In what ways can you help to move us forward?

900+

Participants of the Justice in Public Health Series

18,000+

Pageviews to SPH DEI website (Jun 2021-Jun 2022)

18%

Staff who identify as Indigenous, American Indian, and people of color (as of spring 2022; compared to 16% in the previous period)

Explore the goal areas

Status Key

  • Not Started
  • In Progress
  • Completed
  • Reimagined

Leadership

Goal Area #1
Lead Steward: SPH Dean

Vision: Provide clear and consistent leadership to challenge racism in any form and create an environment that is affirming, accessible, and equitable for people from marginalized communities.

  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

  • The SPH Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Alignment Team (AAT) is active. AAT has been meeting monthly to share successes, challenges, and resources across the school. Some wins that have emerged include:
    • Each division now has a DEI committee and a graduate assistant.
    • We have used more than $200K of our GAGE funds (grants intended to help identify and implement effective diversity initiatives); $105K in direct student support.
    • The AAT has helped to bolster the communications work that is connected to SPAR and the school began adding DEI and antiracist language to all leadership job descriptions and into performance review processes.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

  • Some faculty created new curricula or revised existing curricula and syllabi to align with antiracism principles. This work includes engaging paid community members to review syllabi.
  • Under the guidance of the associate dean for research, SPH developed goals to ensure that DEI and antiracism are central to the SPH research agenda.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

  • In fall 2021, the school began reimagining where to locate the Office of DEI.
  • SPH promoted the DEI program coordinator to associate director in August 2021, and hired the DEI program manager in February 2022.
  • Not Started
  • NOTE: While many SPH individuals and divisions have already made strong efforts in partnering with the community, this SPAR goal focuses on working with community members in a coordinated and systematic way across SPH to promote health equity.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

SPAR Launch Communications Plan

  • In spring through fall 2021, the school developed and implemented a communications plan for the SPAR launch. It had three key objectives: 1) Make sure every member of our school knows what SPAR is and the role they play; 2) Showcase leadership commitment to the plan; 3) Engage people by educating and inspiring them to act.
  • Communications strategies included meetings; development of the SPAR theme, “Building Equity, Driving Justice: Commit | Challenge | Change” and related design assets; key messages; videos; decal and letter mailed to SPH faculty and staff; mass emails and newsletter placements; social media; and an Advances magazine feature.

Ongoing SPAR Communications Plan

  • In summer 2021 through summer 2022, the school developed and implemented a long-term communications plan in service of SPAR. Goals include: 1) Create transparency about who is leading, planning, and implementing SPAR and how others can get involved; 2) Model equitable approaches through engagement, feedback opportunities, and multi-channel communications; 3) Provide support, guidance, and resources to divisions and units; 4) Provide timely information about research, events, community engagement, resources, and training; 5) Reinforce that DEI and antiracism are top priorities for the school.
  • Strategies included events; Agents for Change profiles; “Notes on Antiracism, Justice, and Equity” newsletter; “Antiracism and Health Equity” printed booklet; social media; videos; DEI website redesign and new web landing page; mass emails and newsletter placements; internal building signage; American Public Health Association (APHA) exhibit booth; promotional materials; and newsletter templates and webpages for divisions.

Hiring

  • SPH hired an internal communications and antiracism strategist in spring 2022 with key responsibilities that include the ongoing implementation of the SPAR communications plan.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

In SPAR’s first year, the school began developing a standardized and authentic model for gathering, analyzing, and reporting data.

“If the values of our school and public health, in general, are to mean anything, social justice has to be at the center of our work.”

– Lauren Jones, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

lauren-jones

What’s Next? July 2022 – June 2023

  • Engage and partner with the community to authentically understand health equity. (Area 1: Goal 4)
  • Understand how to develop a better structure to support DEI/antiracist efforts at the program and division levels. (Area 1: Goal 1)
  • Set DEI priorities for the next 3–5 years with input from key leadership and stakeholders. (Area 1: Goal 6)
  • Assess the structure of the Action Alignment Team and organize it for maximum impact. Increase alignment of division DEI committees, DEI office, and SPAR. (Area 1: Goal 6)
  • Develop research and education sections as addendums to SPAR. (Area 1: Goal 2)
  • Research best practices for and develop a DEI writing style guide. (Area 1: Goal 5)
  • Conduct market research in summer/fall 2022 to assess audience perceptions of SPH communications related to SPAR. (Area 1: Goal 5)
  • Develop a content calendar that ensures diversity in all forms, represents all SPH units and divisions, and supports SPAR goals. (Area 1: Goal 5)

Students

Goal Area #2
Lead Steward: Associate Dean for Education & Student Engagement

Vision: To recruit, enroll, retain, and graduate students who are representative of diverse identities — and particularly from the communities that are most impacted by health inequities. The student learning environment should foster engagement, mutual respect, leadership opportunities, and personal empowerment as well as reflect inclusive, anti-oppressive, antiracist values, and empower inclusive, anti-oppressive, and antiracist actions for all students

  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Inclusive Events

  • SPH Commencement, held in May 2022 at Northrop Auditorium, provided Spanish interpretation for guests — a new accommodation for both SPH and Northrop Auditorium. SPH worked with Northrop to rent headsets that allowed contracted interpreters to speak to guests in the audience. Now Northrop can support similar requests.
  • In academic year 2021–2022, SPH held 45 equity, justice, and antiracism-focused events including those that the Office of DEI, SPH divisions, student senate, and Health Equity Work Group organized.
  • The events manager and DEI program manager began working with EDIT (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team) to produce inclusive, mandatory parameters for all future events.

Building Signage

  • SPH crafted new building signage that encourages students, staff, faculty, and visitors to practice antiracism in their work and conversations.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Student Representatives on SPH Committees

  • There is now student representation on the DEI Action Alignment Team, EDIT, Orientation Planning Committee, Commencement Planning Committee, SPH Alumni Society, and Research Committee.
  • The SPH student senate president was appointed to the Education Policy Committee (EPC) as an ex-officio member.
  • There is additional student representation in various committees at the program and division level as well.
  • SPH secured stipends for student leaders of the Diversity Network.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Affinity Spaces

  • SPH In/Color was developed in 2020 to provide BIPOC students an opportunity to connect and build community. SPH In/Color hosted virtual sessions in fall 2020 and spring 2021, and was active in fall 2021 for current and incoming BIPOC students.

Professional Development

  • SPH held an event for BIPOC students to engage with BIPOC public health professionals (including SPH alumni) currently working in the field.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Student Counts by Race/Ethnicity

  • 2021 total headcount 1,428; BIPOC 24.26%; nonresident international 14.10%; white 56.89%; unknown 4.75% (Data pulled on August 12, 2021, from “2021 SPH Current Student Counts for Official Reporting”)

Applications and Scholarships

  • SPH reviewed application materials to ensure language is inclusive, antiracist, and free of implicit bias. SPH reported to the Associate for Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) implicit bias in boilerplate language that is common across U.S. applications. In these materials, the school also acknowledges the past harms done to BIPOC applicants in the application process and invites applicants to consider their role in antiracism and anti-oppression.
  • SPH updated scholarship processes to increase BIPOC applicants and recipients.
  • The school began to review SPH admission and graduate program websites to ensure that the language is inclusive and antiracist. Sites are also reviewed for coded language and implicit bias.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

GRE & Holistic Reviews

  • The school permanently eliminated requirements for the GRE and instituted a holistic review of all applicants beginning with the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

“We need more representation from marginalized communities to share their stories, experiences, and perspectives.”

– Asha Elgonda, MPH ’22

Asha Elgonda

What’s Next? July 2022 – June 2023

  • SPH is planning a fall 2022 BIPOC welcome event for incoming and current students. The event will help students develop networks and learn about resources specific to supporting their experience. (Area 2: Goal 3)
  • The SPH Recruitment and Enrollment Office is working with E-Learning Services and the U of M Office of General Counsel to create a required Canvas course that will educate and train admissions committees on holistic reviews and on implicit bias elimination. They expect to finalize the course by fall 2022. (Area 2: Goal 4)
  • EDIT is developing a Canvas training course on antiracism that will be piloted with a cohort of students, faculty, and staff starting in fall 2022. The pilot will determine if/how the training should roll out to the larger SPH community. (Area 2: Goal 1)
  • With the hire of the SPH internal communications and antiracism strategist in spring 2022, the school will begin revising the current student website in summer 2022 to include DEI-related resources and information. (Area 2: Goal 2)

Faculty

Goal Area #3
Lead Steward: Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

Vision: To recruit, hire, mentor, support, promote, and retain faculty who are representative of diverse identities — particularly Black, Indigenous, and faculty of color — to reflect the students we teach and the communities we serve. To develop an environment that welcomes new perspectives, values individual backgrounds and experiences, engages in community efforts, and centers justice, equity, inclusion, and antiracism.

  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Faculty Counts by Race/Ethnicity

  • 2021 total headcount 130; BIPOC 26 (20%); nonresident international 2; white 102
  • 2022 total headcount 123; BIPOC 27 (21.95%); nonresident international 2; white 94
  • Notes:
    1. Data reflects workforce snapshot counts taken spring of 2021 and 2022
    2. Data include all faculty who were paid when the snapshot was taken
    3. The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Ethnicity Calculation is used to align with the student demographic reporting.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Salary, Equity, Review Committee (SERC)

  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Networking Event

  • The SPH Offices of DEI, HR, Communications, and Faculty Affairs met in May 2022 to share ideas about faculty onboarding and networking events. From that meeting, the group began coordinating an annual networking event for all BIPOC faculty and staff that will also serve as a welcome for new BIPOC faculty and staff.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Policy

  • SPH revised the tenure-track/tenured faculty Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Policy (7.12 Statement) and the U of M Provost gave final approval in July 2021. SPH prepared an executive summary of the changes in September 2021.

Promotion Dossier CV

  • The faculty CV nested within the promotion dossier is required to follow the U of M template. DEI contributions do not currently have specific section(s) in the template CV. The SPH Office of Faculty Affairs holds a promotion workshop each May for faculty who are requesting promotion in the coming academic year. The associate dean for faculty Affairs encourages faculty to include DEI work in all the major sections of the CV (teaching, research/scholarship, service) and to demonstrate (in particular through the teaching narrative, the research narrative, and the service narrative) how DEI work is interwoven throughout those sections.

“I think it’s time that institutions like ours with a lot of resources, power, and skills are held accountable for doing work to dismantle racism.”

– Kathleen Call, Professor, Health Policy and Management

kathleen-call

What’s Next? July 2022 – June 2023

  • Begin a developmental review of tenured associate professors every four years after promotion with an antiracist framing. (Area 3: Goal 4)
  • Partner with the U of M Center for Educational Innovation to deliver their Foundations of Inclusive Teaching Program to a cohort of SPH faculty. This training includes five 90-minute interactive sessions that will meet via Zoom during fall 2022. (view program goals and details) (Area 3: Goal 3)
  • The BIPOC faculty and staff networking event is proposed for mid-January or spring 2023, and the SPH Leadership Team will be encouraged to attend. (Area 3: Goal 3)

Staff

Goal Area #4
Lead Steward: Chief of Staff

Vision: To recruit, hire, mentor, support, promote, and retain staff who are representative of diverse identities — particularly Black, Indigenous, and staff of color — to reflect the students we teach and the communities we serve. To develop an environment that welcomes new perspectives, values individual backgrounds/ experiences, engages in community efforts, and centers justice, equity, inclusion, and antiracism.

  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Staff Counts by Race/Ethnicity

  • Staff Headcount Trend
    • 2021 total headcount 354; BIPOC 56 (15.82%); nonresident international 2; not specified 4; white 292
    • 2022 total headcount 389; BIPOC 71 (18.25%); nonresident international 6; not specified 9; white 303
  • Staff Hiring Trend
    • 2021 total headcount 39; BIPOC 9 (23.1%); nonresident international 2; not reported 1; white 27
    • 2022 total headcount 70; BIPOC 22 (31.4%); nonresident international 2; not reported 2; white 4
    •  Notes:
      1. Data reflects workforce snapshot counts taken in spring of 2021 and 2022.
      2. Data include all staff who were paid when the spring snapshot was taken;
      3. The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Ethnicity Calculation is used to align with the student demographic reporting.

Hiring Practices

The school made the following changes to staff hiring practices to prioritize antiracism and inclusivity in the hiring process:

  • The school’s commitment to antiracism is now included in all staff job postings to highlight its importance in our culture and the hiring process. Salary ranges are now included in all staff job postings for transparency and to help candidates make an informed decision about whether to apply for a position.
  • Some required qualifications in staff job postings have been recharacterized as preferred qualifications, thereby increasing the size of applicant pools rather than automatically screening out candidates as unqualified before consideration.
  • Minimum posting time for staff positions has been increased from 7 to 14 days to help create larger, more diverse applicant pools.
  • Work arrangement information has been included in all staff job postings to highlight the availability of remote or hybrid work, thereby promoting inclusivity and flexibility leading to larger, more diverse applicant pools.
  • Instructions for indicating preferred name and pronouns have been included to promote a more inclusive hiring process for non-binary and transgendered applicants.
  • Reimagined

BIPOC Staff Affinity Group

  • First meeting held February 19, 2021, as a space for BIPOC faculty and staff to be together in community. Meetings ran monthly until spring 2022 and are currently being reimagined to be most purposeful.
  • The group participated in the 2021 SPH dean search process and met with the search firm to express needs for the school’s next leader. The group also met with each candidate.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

Staff Salaries

  • Over the past year, the school has made progress toward ensuring equitable, market-competitive staff salaries, including:
    • SPH developed new practices for salary setting and equity adjustments and integrated them with hiring and budgeting processes.
    • Ongoing work involves making this a sustainable practice, codifying it in a policy shared with and accessible to SPH employees (see current school compensation guidelines), and continuing to adjust as we learn from implementation.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

New Employee Orientation

  • In August 2021, the SPH Human Resources Team updated the new employee orientation to introduce the Strategic Plan for Antiracism (SPAR), highlight the school’s commitment and work in antiracism and health equity, and encourage and inspire new employees to live the theme of SPAR, “Building Equity, Driving Justice: Commit | Challenge | Change.”
  • SPH New Employee Orientation Participation Trends (May-April; Invitations go out to all faculty and staff hires 0.50-1.0 FTE)
    • 2021 total invites 80, attendees 69 (86.25%)
    • 2022 total invites 123, attendees 84 (68.29%)

“The most important ingredient [to culture change at SPH] is believing that everyone will be doing better — and we will accomplish our school’s mission more successfully — if everyone is given an opportunity to participate and thrive.”

– Robbin Frazier, Associate Director of Equity and Community Engagement, SPH Center for Healthy Aging & Innovation

robbin-frazier

What’s Next? July 2022 – June 2023

  • Primary focus on employee recruitment, hiring, and onboarding in year 2. (Area 4: Goal 1)
  • Identify and/or develop required DEI educational training for staff to ensure inclusive and antiracist language and actions. (Area 4: Goal 4)
  • Equip staff to successfully partner with diverse communities in research, education, and service activities. (Area 4: Goal 4)
  • Hold inaugural SPH BIPOC Staff and Faculty Welcome and Reception — a social gathering for folks to connect, network, and be in the community while also being recognized for their contributions to SPH.

Alumni

Goal Area #5
Lead Steward: SPH Associate Chief Advancement Officer, Alumni Engagement, DEIA and Operations

Vision: To meaningfully engage alumni in our research, training, and service activities around antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Alumni will be seen as valuable partners in this work. Their collective relationships and expertise will be extensions of the SPH student, staff, and faculty community as we work toward building an institution that is antiracist and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at SPH and in the wider world.

  • In Progress
  • Alumni Career Trends Survey: The school completed its first Alumni Career Trends survey in 2021. Among other pieces of information, the survey collects critical data from alumni as it relates to our SPH commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion and helps inform the future of SPH education, programming, and our learning environment. The 2021 survey served as a baseline and will be repeated every five years.
    • Sent to 9,713 (all contactable living) alumni.
    • 1,453 alumni completed the survey (15% completion rate).
    • Survey results were shared in fall 2021 with SPH leadership, AAT, SPH Alumni Society board leaders, University of Minnesota Foundation, and University of Minnesota Alumni Association.
  • Alumni and students reviewed and modified the mentor program application to include questions that would allow students and mentors to request to be matched with folks who have similar identities.
  • Alumni reviewed and modified the Alumni Society board application to include questions that identify and address gaps in board representation in relation to the communities they serve.
  • In Progress

Accomplishments to date:

  • In September 2021, SPH created a DEI committee on the Alumni Society board. The committee will inform board strategy for engaging alumni around the issues of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in research and community engagement.
  • In September 2021, the school completed its Alumni Society board assessment. The assessment found that board membership does not reflect the diversity of our school’s alumni. It also found that our SPH alumni leaders do not receive training from their employers for addressing and leading work around issues of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • SPH Alumni Society board completed DEI training with the SPH DEI office in August 2021.

What’s Next? July 2022 – June 2023

  • Analyze the career trends survey data to assess student experience and identify areas of concern. (Area 5: Goal 1)
  • Reshare data from the survey with stakeholders and make recommendations that will inform how we address key issues of concern. (Area 5: Goal 1)
  • Develop a strategy to measure progress in addressing those issues. (Area 5: Goal 1)
  • Conduct inventory of all existing alumni partnerships with the community. (Area 5: Goal 2)
  • Offer new and continuing education and professional development opportunities to assist alumni in staying current on best practices in public health as they relate to antiracism and DEI. (Area 5: Goal 3)
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